Few things are as soothing and satisfying as a hot bath after a long day or a crushing piece of news, but sometimes even this little escape along with a good cry isn't enough to work through the problem at hand. In that case, sometimes a little food therapy is in order. What makes an indulgence a treat is that it's a rare thing, but when we do indulge, we want to really make it count. Sometimes we want something savory and cheesy, while other times only sweet, sweet chocolate will do. In either case, the more decadent the treat, the more relaxing it is. Maybe we want to share with our best friend as we talk out the problem, or maybe we just need to wallow a bit in our own feels.
No matter what the sad occasion is, there's something on this list for everyone—from the beginner to the expert chef. Some of these delectable indulgences are super-fast to make for the angry and impatient, while others are a long and slow process that'll keep a person busy in the kitchen for awhile—possibly a welcome diversion. Either way, the right cheese or chocolate nosh paired up with a good TV show, book or movie can help repair frazzled nerves and raw emotions. Here are ten cheese-inspired treats and ten chocolate-rich desserts that'll help heal the ache.
20 In-Bread Cheese (Brioche Wrapped Brie)
Once all the ingredients are gathered, this fancy-looking indulgence is ready in just under an hour. The brioche dough has to be mixed up and allowed to set and rise around six hours, which is on the longer side, but it'll be worth the wait. A whole wheel of brie is first wrapped in prosciutto, then wrapped up in brioche dough, and the whole thing is baked for a little over 20 minutes, according to BBC Good Food. Sure, it's meant as a dinner-party treat, but diving into a warm and melty Brioche Wrapped Brie and binge watching Downton Abbey can go a long way towards getting all the feels out.
19 It Counts As One Cookie (Giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie)
What we love about skillet cookies is that when people ask how many we ate, we can honestly say just one! Assembling the cookie is easy, and while the Bon Appétit recipe for the Giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie calls for semi-sweet chocolate wafers, whatever type of chocolate the maker prefers will work fine, as per Bon Appétit. It bakes up in a jiffy in a ten-inch cast iron skillet. Paired up with dairy or non-dairy milk—and maybe topped with a scoop of ice cream—this cookie is the perfect treat to indulge in while cracking open that well-worn copy of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.
18 When The Noodle's Befuddled (Baked Macaroni And Cheese)
Nothing warms a cold body up better than a deep, hot dish of Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Far more hearty and satisfying than the boxed version, the key to a great baked mac and cheese when a crisis is looming is speed, and this recipe is all about getting that cheesy comfort quickly, according to Feast And Farm. The key things to remember are to not skimp on good, shredded cheese and to take the five minutes to watch the white sauce. Once this crispy and cheesy comfort food is out of the oven, scoop out a generous portion and pair it up with an evening watching Bridesmaids.
17 In The Middle Of A Meltdown (Molten Chocolate Cake)
One chef's fortuitous mistake has given us all a cake done wrong that is so, so right. Our favorite recipe makes six servings that can be stored in the fridge until needed, which is perfect for an ongoing crisis that might need additional doses of chocolate therapy. Good quality semi-sweet chocolate and high-quality unsalted butter elevate this dessert to life-changing, and even beginner cooks can turn these mini-cakes out without breaking a sweat, as per Once Upon A Chef. These molten desserts feel so rich and sumptuous that we think they go great with an Audrey Hepburn romance like Roman Holiday or Sabrina.
16 Hot Wheels (Baked Camembert)
Sometimes life falls apart no matter how well we've planned it. A simple Baked Camembert can provide some warm, gooey comfort for those times. It couldn't be easier—the cheese doesn't even have to come all the way out of its box, according to Jamie Oliver. A finely sliced garlic clove and some sprigs of rosemary dress the cheese up beautifully, and stale bread sliced up and skewered on woody rosemary stems and drizzled with olive oil complete the easy baked treat. A glass of a fine red plus the classic Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks flick Sleepless in Seattle—especially the cheesy Empire State building scene—completes this at-home indulgence.
15 Chocolate En Française (Silk Pie A La Francais)
It is always a good time for pie, but sometimes tough times need a pie that offers more, and a Silk Pie has everything needed to calm the emotional tumult. This isn't a time for calorie-counting, so heavy cream and the finest chocolate that can be found are vital to crafting this problem-solving pie, according to A Spicy Perspective. So creamy and fluffy, this Silk Pie out of France is a blissful experience and will help those cares melt away. With a pie like this that is all about texture and the tactile experience, the perfect movie accompaniment might just be the France-born film Amèlie.
14 Too Rich To Be Sad (Blue Cheese Soufflés)
No one has time for a good long soak-and-cry in the bathtub first thing in the morning, so when a comforting hot bath can't be managed, a light and cheesy soufflé might be the perfect pick-me-up. Selecting cheeses that are a cut above—like the Bleu d'Avergne and a quality Parmigiano-Reggiano—entirely elevates this classy dish into something extraordinary, as per Food Network. Putting a brave face on is easier with an always-elegant soufflé. The Blue Cheese Soufflé—whether it rises to the occasion or not—fits nicely with an episode or two of I Love Lucy.
13 The Cake That'll Cure It All (Coffee-Chocolate Layer Cake)
The zillion steps and long list of ingredients for this coffee, chocolate and cheese combo might feel a bit daunting at first, but it's got everything needed to cure whatever ails—so pop in an inspirational movie like Ratatouille and get to work in the kitchen. Espresso water and cocoa bake into the cake layers, which are held together by the creamiest frosting, according to Epicurious. That frosting is dense and luxurious because the cocoa and espresso powder is blended with mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream for a rich and decadent frosting. Creating this cake will chase off the blues, and eating a slice will be pure pleasure.
12 However Ya Slice It (Cheese Pizza)
We won't judge if a cheese pizza from our favorite pizza takeout is the ideal solution, but a homemade version can take just a few minutes and maybe be even more satisfying. A thin crust pizza is great for showcasing sop top-quality cheese, and blending a melty-stretchy mozzarella with some shredded provolone or other personal favorite ensures that this won't be “just a cheese pizza,” as per Garden in The Kitchen. Once the pizza's done, we think that pairing it with a tall glass of soda and the final season of Futurama to binge is a great way to laugh and cry it all out.
11 Smoothing It Over (Dark Chocolate Mousse)
For those days when the emotional upheaval is real, but we still have to look like we've got everything under control, a Dark Chocolate Mousse is a silky-smooth choice that will have us out buying our own dozen roses, thanks very much. If there's a stand-mixer handy, then the hardest part about this recipe is the two-hour wait. Heavy cream, sugar and fine chocolate are whipped into a mousse and topped with a bright and airy whipped cream for a dreamy chocolate dessert, according to Godiva. Escape in the luxury and fantasy of the mousse with the Kirsten Dunst version of Marie Antoinette.
10 A Softened Landing (Mozzarella Pillows)
Falling down can hurt pretty badly, so it helps to have a nice, soft pillow to land on. Giada de Laurentiis has a recipe for Mozzarella Pillows that are like a real grown up's version of the teen favorite frozen pizza rolls, as per Food Network. They take a little time to assemble but are worth every minute of the time it takes to make these hand-held little pockets of cheesy goodness. The perfect thing to do when the soul-searching gets too heavy is to settle down with these baked Mozzarella Pillows and some classic Jim Gaffigan stand-up on Netflix.
9 The Double D'Eclair (Chocolate Eclair Cake)
A chocolate eclair doughnut never seems to stick around long enough to lift the spirits, but a Chocolate Eclair Cake is substantial enough to lift up even the gloomiest Gus. One easy version we love that's perfect for banishing blues is this icebox-style cake with fluffy vanilla pudding made from scratch and layered with graham crackers under a chocolate ganache top, according to Brown Eyed Baker. It's better than the pastry but because it's an icebox cake it needs to be kept refrigerated, making it ideal for summertime blues. A cup of coffee with a slice of this cake goes down well with a Friends marathon.
8 Spooning For One (Cheese Risotto)
For some, the creamy softness of risotto is the ultimate comfort food. Awhile back, Nigella Lawson did what we were all thinking and mixed in her favorite melty cheddar cheese in the last few minutes of stirring the risotto for a spoonable indulgence, as per Nigella. While it's not terribly complicated, it does require a lot of ladling and stirring to get the right risotto consistency. It's worth it, and putting on some tunes in the kitchen will help pass the time. A bowl (or two) of this Cheese Risotto might go down pretty well while watching the classic Southern film Fried Green Tomatoes.
7 Back To Basic (Brownies)
When emotions are running high, and there's too much frustration to get involved with a long list of cake or dessert ingredients, a good brownie recipe can be a simple route to chocolate-induced inner peace. Believe it or not, the famed actress Katharine Hepburn is the author of an amazing brownie recipe, according to The New York Times. The recipe is just as easy as a boxed mix and tastes even better. Throw in a handful of chocolate chips for fun. In honor of Katharine's mood-lifting brownie recipe, pop in her rom-com The Philadelphia Story, also starring Cary Grant and James Stewart.
6 Fancy Fakin' It (Manchego And Ham Croquetas)
For a little something different that still contains lots of savory cheese paired with ham, the tapas-style Manchego and Ham Croquetas are immensely satisfying. The only way to get a tasty version of this outside of Spain is to make them from scratch, which takes more than a couple of minutes but is well worth it, as per La Tienda. What's lovely about this particular recipe from La Tienda is that it ends up making around 30 pieces. If all that's needed is a good, long cry, try getting through the Spanish movie Volver with Penélope Cruz while crafting these little croquetas.
5 C & C Mood Fix Factory (Double Fudge Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake)
In every episode of The Golden Girls when Dorothy, Rose, Blanch or Sophia had a crisis, a cheesecake helped them talk or reason through just about anything. Many of the times it was a simple run-of-the-mill cheesecake, but in one particular episode, Sophia discusses a Petrillo family delicacy—the Double Fudge Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake, according to Tori Avey. Semi-sweet chocolate and both ricotta and cream cheese unite in an epic cheesecake. It's extremely rich, so call in the best gal pals for an all-night Golden Girls marathon and talk over any man problems with this delicious chocolate cheesecake.
4 Chippin' Dip In (Queso Fundido)
One cheesy delight that many people outside of the Southwest might not be aware of is Queso Fundido. It's an incredibly easy melted cheese to make that is usually garnished with chorizo and eaten with tortillas de maiz or chips. Good queso fundido is a simple and flavorful blend of Mexican cheeses like Chihuahua or asadero added to sauteed poblano rajas—strips of pepper—and sautéed onions, according to Rick Bayless. If authentic cheeses from Mexico can't be found, mozzarella can stand in. After assembling this super easy cheesy dip, grab some tortilla chips and take an emotional break with a funny movie like Nacho Libre.
3 Grandma's Hug In A Mug (Abuelita's Chocolate)
There's an amazing variation on hot chocolate that folks from Mexico know, and many in the US are catching onto. Abuelita—which is an affectionate term for “grandmother”—is the name of a Nestlé-produced hot chocolate that is popular in Mexico, as per El Mejor Nido. It comes in a thick tablet rather than the powder that many of us are used to. Set some milk in a saucepan to warm on the stove, adding the tablet and stirring until it's dissolved. For an extra kick, grate a touch of nutmeg on top and sit down with the classic forbidden-love movie Like Water For Chocolate.
2 The Holy Grail Of Sandwich (The Best Ever Grilled Cheese)
A grilled cheese is simply cheese heated between two slices of bread in a pan, but there's no reason not to get extra and try out different cheese combinations. Touted as the Best Ever Grilled Cheese Sandwich, this recipe uses not one but five different kinds of cheese, according to Taste of Home. Slathering the slices of bread with a butter and mayo mixture and heating on low gets the perfect golden crispiness to set off the Brie, Gruyere and other cheeses. The characters from When Harry Met Sally get together several times in a diner, and while a grilled cheese isn't Sally's typical fare, it's cheesy satisfaction while watching this love story.
1 Melt Those Sorrows Away (Fudge)
Good homemade fudge is the ultimate indulgence—everything naughty goes in to make something totally nice. A whole stick of butter, far too much sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and marshmallows are some of the main reasons why fudge can really hit the sadness sweet spot, as per Foodie Crush. Getting everything to the right temperature is the trick, but an electric skillet or food thermometer can do this and voilà—perfect fudge. Our binge-watch pick for fudge is the TV show M*A*S*H*, especially the episode “The Nurses,” where they eat their own version of the therapeutic treat, as per IMDb.